Dusty & Stones
November 18 & 19, 2023 | 3:00PM
2022. Directed by Jesse Rudoy. 83 minutes. Not rated.
Q&A with film editor Loulwa Khoury following the Sunday screening.
Showings take place at 3:00PM in the Billings Farm & Museum Visitor Center Theater. Tickets are $15 person/$12 Billings Farm member.
Dusty & Stones is a continent-crossing hero’s journey story told through country music. The documentary intimately chronicles the remarkable ride of cousins Gazi “Dusty” Simelane and Linda “Stones” Msibi, a determined duo of struggling country singers from the tiny African Kingdom of Eswatini (known as Swaziland at the time of filming) who long for their big break.
When they are unexpectedly invited to record their songs in Nashville and to compete in a Texas battle of the bands, Dusty and Stones embark on their long-awaited first pilgrimage to the ancestral heart of country music.
Over a momentous ten-day road trip through the American South, Dusty and Stones bring their music to life in a top Nashville recording studio, explore the storied locales of their favorite country songs, and excitedly engage with the culture they’ve long felt part of from afar.
But this sense of kinship is abruptly thrown into question when Dusty and Stones arrive in the small town of Jefferson, Texas to compete in the battle of the bands. There, the hostile leader of the local backing band threatens to derail the cousins’ debut American performance. As their family and friends back home wait for good news, a shell-shocked Dusty and Stones must take the stage and fight to bring home an award for Swaziland.
Dusty & Stones was supported by the HBO New True Stories Funding Initiative, the Gotham Documentary Feature Lab, Film Independent’s Fast Track, Durban FilmMart, and the XTR Film Society.
“One of the most compelling and joyful music documentaries of the year.” ~ Living Life Fearless
“Captivating crowd-pleaser that weaves contemporary politics in its backdrop…a character study rife with terrific music and presence.” ~ The Film Stage
“[A] wondrous ten-day road trip through the American south” ~ DOC NYC
“A triumph of musical storytelling” ~ Sonic Cinema